Monday, October 17, 2011

Arsenal Get Back to Winning, The Baseball Post Season Heats Up Without the Mets & Thankfully Without the Yankees

The two-week international break couldn't have come at a better time for Arsenal.  After their worst start to a season in more than 50 years and an agonizing defeat to hated Tottenham, both the team and the fans needed a break from the league to regroup and come back ready to get things turned around and moving in the right direction.

The world football pundits have been burying Arsenal over the last few weeks and have actually stated that the balance of power in North London has shifted to the Spuds.  Yes Arsenal have gotten off to a horrific start but to make such inane comments after just 8 games in a season despite years of Arsenal's domination over Tottenham seems a bit exaggerated and extreme.

It's amazing how short everyone's memory is. Liverpool are being talked about in glowing terms this season. The pundits are singing the praises of Kenny Daglish's team and perhaps, rightly so.  However, last year at this time, Liverpool had fewer points than Arsenal currently have.  After 8 games last season, Liverpool had a total of 6 points with 1 win, 2 draws and 5 losses. As late as January 2011 the "relegation" term was being thrown around.  The same negativity that is currently being directed at Arsenal was being hurled at Liverpool. The media spoke of a crisis and possible relegation as they had a field day looking at all the negatives.

As we all know now, the team turned it around and while not finishing in the top 4, Liverpool finished 6th in the table and are looking strong thus far this season.

Captain Robin Van Persie leads by example
Arsenal defeated Sunderland this past weekend with Robin Van Persie scoring both goals in a 2-1 victory. After 8 games Arsenal find themselves in a disapppointing 10th place with 10 points. (Keep in mind Liverpool had just 6 points at the same point last season and turned things around). While I am certainly not pleased with the Gunners' dismal start, the late roster changes, the rash of injuries and the current defensive frailties, Arsenal can and should turn things around.

Arsenal are currently missing a good number of first team players (Vermaelen, Wilshere, Sagna, Diaby) while the new players are still getting used to playing together as a cohesive unit. (Arteta, Benayoun, Jenkinson, Gervinho, Mertesacker and Santos amongst others). Of course the defections of Nasri and Fabregas just as the season started didn't help the team's morale both on and off the pitch.

Van Persie scores the first of his two goals
So, my point is...don't listen to the negative media, idiotic Spuds fans or just plain haters. Be a fan, stick with the team and believe that things will get better. Again, look at where Liverpool were last year at this exact stage in the season.

Here are some of the positives.  Szczesny is proving that he is a top class keeper with loads of confidence.  Alex Song is really taking charge and helping out the still leaky defense while controlling the midfield.  Captain Robin Van Persie is healthy and is proving his class both as a top striker and a team leader. Arteta and Benayoun look sharp overall as they learn the Arsenal system and new defenders Santo and Mertsacker are looking strong early on.  Then there are the promising younger players; Frimpong, Gervinho, Coquelin, Miyaichi and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Vermaelen should be back soon and both Wilshere and Sagna will return this season.  Then there's the January transfer window and Aresene Wenger's funds.

As for the weekend's game...Arsenal again dominated most of the play but still left their fans to sweat it out until the end.  Van Persie's free kick to seal the victory was a thing of beauty as was Sebastian Larsson's free kick that resulted in Sunderland's lone goal. While it wasn't a goalfest for Arsenal, it was a convincing and deserved win that will hopefully give the squad some confidence to build upon moving forward.

Recent British Tabloid Football Stories that made me laugh:

The Ryan Giggs "family affair" was back in the news and more ridiculous than ever.

Dirtbag Wayne Rooney proves once again what an idiot he is as he received red in England's recent Euro 2012 qualifying match.

The Carlos Tevez vs. Roberto Mancini saga is insane and proves that buying up superstars does not make a unified team.  I expect more infighting to come. 

Shameless self promotion: My Bleacher Report article on Arsenal hat tricks in the EPL era.


Baseball's regular season ended a little over two weeks ago and the first two rounds of the playoffs have come and gone. The highlight of the post season for any Mets fans was seeing the hated Yankees and Phillies eliminated in the first round.  Watching the arrogant and elitist fans of our arch rivals eating crow and looking despondent has become an enjoyable part of the post season for Mets fans. I do hope one day to see the Mets actually make the playoffs, but until then, it's always great to see the Evil Empire and the Phreaking Phillies LOSE.

Go ahead and cry Phillies fans
The Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals will be playing for the title.  The Cardinals are the team that beat the Mets in the 2006 ALCS so there is no way that I will support them.  They've won enough.  I am rooting for the Rangers all the way.  The only negative thing that I can say about the Rangers is that George Bush is a fan. Aside from that, original Met and 1969 World Series winner Nolan Ryan is part owner of the Rangers. Plus Endy "The Catch" Chavez is on the Rangers roster as is Ian Kinsler. In honor of all Jewish grandmothers in Brooklyn, it's nice to see "a nice Jewish boy" in the World Series, especially one that is actually a great athlete.


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